‘Jeopardy!’: Will LeVar Burton Be Named Full-Time Host after Mike Richards Steps Down?

by Clayton Edwards

This month has been a rollercoaster ride for Jeopardy! fans. First, we learned that Mike Richards would host the show full-time. This news didn’t go over well with fans of the iconic quiz show. However, they didn’t have to wait long for a change. That announcement made waves on July 11th. Now, nine days later, Richards is out again. As a result, there is once again a vacancy behind the show’s lectern. Many are hoping that LeVar Burton will fill that slot.

LeVar Burton seems like the perfect choice to take Alex Trebek’s place. For starters, Burton’s goals align with the spirit of the show. He is passionate about education and children’s literacy. In fact, many people know him best from his time on Reading Rainbow. His calm personality and enthusiastic encouragement led many children to find the joy of reading.

Furthermore, LeVar Burton has dreamed of hosting Jeopardy! for years. In fact, he tweeted about wanting the job long before Alex Trebek passed away. Burton sent the tweet in 2013. Trebek passed in November of 2020. Eight years ago, Burton called hosting the iconic quiz show his “dream job.”

LeVar Burton isn’t alone in that dream. Many of his fans and supporters want to see him hosting Jeopardy! as well. In fact, many people who disagreed with the decision to place Mike Richards at the helm of the show mentioned Burton. Some went as far as to say that the Reading Rainbow alum was robbed. However, their support of him isn’t new. In fact, someone started a petition for Sony to make Burton the permanent host of Jeopardy! just days after Trebek’s passing. Currently, that petition has nearly 270,000 signatures.

What Could Hold LeVar Burton Back?

That massive fan support behind LeVar Burton may not be enough to propel him to the hosting position. Another important factor might hold him back: ratings.

LeVar Burton had some of the lowest ratings of any guest host despite massive fan support. However, the quality of Burton’s work probably isn’t the reason behind this. The fact is that there was a lot happening on television while he was behind Jeopardy!’s lectern.

For starters, LeVar Burton had to compete with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Olympics coverage has always been some of the highest-rated television programming. At the same time, the NBA draft happened while Burton was on Jeopardy!. So, he had to compete with that as well.

It is important to note that Ken Jennings had the highest ratings of any host. Yet, he did not get chosen for the position. So, ratings obviously aren’t the only factor in choosing a host.